Garden Warnings For Early Frost

Garden Warnings For Early Frost

From southern Illinois northward frost can be expected anytime after late September. Try to save the Swiss chard and New Zealand spinach by protecting them with small, movable coldframes. Your reward will be a plentiful supply of fresh greens until late autumn.

Don’t let early frosts catch the pumpkins and squashes on the vine. Cut them carefully about a week before the first frost is expected and allow them to dry in the sun before storing. If the onions are not yet ready to dig, bend over their tops so that they will ripen faster.

It’s not too late to sow winter rye in the bare spots in the vegetable garden. It will germinate and develop, even during winter thaws.

Planting narcissus and other spring-flowering bulbs – Daffodils that have just arrived from your nurseryman should be planted before October 1. Also, bulbs that have been growing in your garden for years and have become too thick can be moved now. If possible, reset them the same day they are dug.

Minor bulbs such as scilla, muscari, chionodoxa, crocus and camassia should be popped into the ground as soon as they are received. Prepare the soil in advance, if possible, so that it has time to settle.

Digging and storing gladiolus – As soon as the gladiolus foliage loses its greenness, the corms can be dug up. Dry them in a cool, airy spot for a week or two. Before storing, treat them with a fungicide to ward off disease.

Moving peonies and other perennials, shrubs and evergreens – When should peonies be moved? According to one authority, 9:00 A.M. on September 15! Timing isn’t really that critical, but after this date, the sooner the job can be done, the better. Most perennials have completed their growth by now and can be moved towards the end of the month.

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If a great many shrubs have to be moved, a few can be transplanted now ahead of season if their leaves are first stripped. However, it is a better practice to wait until frost drops the leaves.

In most parts of the Middle West early September is the preferred time for moving evergreens. Be sure to mulch the soil heavily after thoroughly soaking it. If this is the last time the hose will be used this fall, drain it and hang it in a dry, cool place for the winter.

Caring for the lawn – If the lawn has spots that need leveling, there’s still time before the middle of the month to correct the condition with a top dressing. By next spring the grass will have grown through the new soil and the turf will appear more even.

Continue mowing the lawn until heavy frosts stop growth. Don’t yield yet to the temptation of giving the lawn-mower a vacation.

If snow mold was a problem to your lawn last spring, spray it now with a good turf fungicide. Be sure to apply it before the ground freezes.

Cleaning up weeds in the vegetable garden – If bindweed or Canada thistle infests the vegetable garden, it can be cleaned out when it’s cool and the soil temperature drops to 55 degrees. Check the soil temperature carefully, spraying when it is below 55, but before the foliage is blackened by frost.

Buying, identifying house plants and potting up herbs for winter decoration”Now, before the last-minute rush which begins when the weather turns cold, identifying house plants and buying new plants to decorate the house. They seem to do better if they have a chance to become acclimated before the oil burner or furnace starts up.

Grow some herbs in a sunny window to supply winter flavorings. Pot them up now, cutting off the old tops to force young growth. Chives, sweet basil, thyme, rosemary and marjoram should be especially welcome.

Now you can remove the confusion in your mind on the topic of identifying house plants. Drop by today at

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